The independent, trusted guide to online education for over 24 years!

The Best Jobs for a Masters of Psychology | An Analysis

Image of brain symbolizing the career opportunities of a masters of psychology

A master’s degree in psychology is a valuable credential across many industries. But even though it’s great to have a Master of Psychology degree, many graduates do not know the best jobs to pursue. In truth, there are lots of top jobs for someone with a Master’s in Psychology. These jobs can vary heavily based on their responsibilities, salaries, and more. Let’s look at the best jobs for those with master’s degrees in psychology.

Average Master in Psychology Salaries

Generally, a master’s degree in psychology will prepare a professional for a relatively high salary. Most individuals with Master of Psychology degrees earn over $60,000 per year. However, some earn just $40,000 per year, particularly if they work in an underpaid industry like social work.

Many more earn much higher salaries, though. Some positions that require a master’s in psychology award salaries well over $100,000. Typically, salary levels increase with responsibility or specialization. More specialized roles pay employees more since their skills are less common.

Top Jobs for Master of Psychology Graduates

Professionals with master's degrees in psychology have a wide range of careers to choose from. Psychology is an essential field in various industries, ranging from manufacturing to business to IT to therapy. Students searching for their best options should look at the top jobs below. Many of these jobs for Master of Psychology degrees also pay well.

Recreational Therapist

Recreational therapists are specialized therapy experts. They create treatment plans to help patients improve their physical and mental health through recreational activities like exercise.

For example, everyone knows that exercise plays a significant role in mental health. Regular exercise releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. Recreational therapists can help individuals overcome depressive symptoms by:

  • Eating healthy foods
  • Participating in recreational exercise or physical activities
  • Learning social skills to prevent loneliness

Recreational therapists’ patients have illnesses, injuries, or disabilities in many cases. Recreational therapists work with their patients directly in nursing homes, hospitals, and city parks and recreation departments.

Because of their jobs’ involved and personal nature, recreational therapists often form lasting bonds with their patients.

Most recreational therapists earn about $48,000 per year.

Mental Health Counselor

Mental health counselors are staples of the mental health industry and the counseling profession. As their name suggests, mental health counselors assist with mental health issues. Specifically, they:

  • Help clients cope with past traumas and other events
  • Assess clients for potential disorders or behavioral issues
  • Treat mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression
  • Assist those suffering from drug use or abuse
  • Find ways to treat mental health problems

Furthermore, mental health counselors play a significant role in wellness for people of all ages. They work at hospitals, medical clinics, recovery or treatment centers, and other places. Some individuals rely on mental health counselors for long-term assistance with chronic or ongoing issues. Others may visit mental health counselors to handle specific traumatic incidents, such as a divorce or the death of a loved one.

In any case, mental health counselors are vital medical professionals. Note, however, that they are not necessarily licensed to prescribe medication. To prescribe medication, a therapist must become a psychiatrist. In many cases, this requires a Ph.D., though not all.

Most mental health counselors earn about $48,520 per year on average.

Marriage and Family Therapist

Marriage and family therapists are also specialized therapists. They concentrate more on marriage and family dynamics. They may help their patients with issues like:

  • Solving interpersonal communication issues between family members, like parents and children
  • Assisting couples to deal with issues
  • Any other problems that may arise from personal relationships

Note that marriage and family therapists are rarely limited to one or the other. For example, most marriage and family therapists don’t just work on marital issues or family issues. They often take clients from both groups depending on their preferences.

Marriage and family therapists must be highly communicative and socially intelligent. They often have to navigate complex interpersonal dynamics. Marriage and family therapists have to consider the emotional health of an entire family unit or both members of a couple.

Some marriage and family therapists further specialize in couples therapy or helping children. Such therapists find work with government or state agencies or adoption agencies.

The average annual salary for marriage and family therapists is $49,880 according to the BLS.

Social Worker

Social workers are diverse professionals who wear many hats and perform a variety of tasks. In general, social workers provide social support to people in their communities. They may have duties including but not limited to:

  • Contacting family members for injured or ill people
  • Helping needful people connect with resources in their community, such as shelters or soup kitchens
  • Providing guidance or counseling to clients
  • Helping those without homes find lodging or assistance from government organizations
  • And more

Social workers have salaries and responsibilities as varied as their specific job tasks. For example, some beginning social workers may only earn around $40,000. Others may supervise entire teams of social workers or social help organizations. They earn higher salaries, often over $60,000.

Some social workers require a master’s degree in social work rather than psychology. However, some individuals with master’s degrees in psychology may still find employment. This is especially true if they plan to enroll in a social work program later.

Most social workers earn about $50,390 per year on average.

Research Assistant

Research assistants are clinical professionals. These jobs are often held by individuals with master’s degrees in psychology who wish to rise to the doctoral level eventually.

However, the work they do is vital. Research assistants:

  • Help with active psychological research
  • Contribute to significant scientific advancements in the psychology field
  • Work for universities, private research organizations, government agencies, and more
  • Gain valuable practical experience for use with their doctoral program/future careers

Depending on their specialization, research assistants may focus on one type of work or another. Note that research assistants are never called lead research psychologists. However, depending on seniority or experience, they could have more responsibility or less.

Typically, research assistants earn about $53,086 per year on average.

Life Coach

Life coaches have intriguing and dynamic careers. These professionals work with chosen clients to help those clients reach life visions or goals. They are also sometimes called enrichment specialists or executive coaches.

Depending on their focus of experience, life coaches may work for agencies or have their own businesses. Furthermore, life coaches can assist their clients in meeting a variety of goals, including:

  • Losing weight
  • Gaining self-confidence
  • Achieving career goals
  • Achieving educational goals
  • Leading a company
  • And more

Life coaches help individuals attain professional satisfaction or goals rather than interpersonal or relationship satisfaction. But it all depends on the life coach and the services they offer.

Regardless, life coaches benefit heavily from backgrounds in psychology. A master’s degree in psychology will prepare a life coach to understand how their clients think and feel. They will be able to offer better advice based on observed patterns of behavior and discerned motivations.

Life coaches can earn varying salaries depending on their client list and history. A life coach makes more money as they work with more clients and earn a reputation for success.

The majority of life coaches earn about $51,810 a year.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers are vital educational professionals. They teach or help to manage children with special learning needs or disabilities. These disabilities can range from autism spectrum disorder, vision impairment, ADHD, and more.

Regardless, special education teachers benefit from master’s degrees in psychology, specifically child psychology. Many special education programs around the country require special ed. teachers to have a master’s degree.

Over time, special education teachers can earn promotions to school administrative posts. These posts may allow them to influence policy in their school districts or at the state/national level.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual salary for special education teachers as $61,820 per year.

Career Counselor

Career counselors are also important jobs for those with master’s degrees in psychology. In brief, career counselors assist clients – including students and working adults – in developing the skills or mindsets they need to achieve their career goals.

In schools, career counselors may help students decide what careers they want to pursue. They also help students determine what colleges they should apply to, what classes they should take, and more. In other words, career counselors can help students reach their career goals more efficiently and provide sound advice.

Career counselors help those who already have jobs progress to higher positions or switch careers in the professional workforce. For example, a professional in one industry may wish to change industries entirely and start a second career. A career counselor can give them concrete steps to achieve that goal. They may recommend school, working at another company, or taking certificate exams.

Career counselors benefit from master’s degrees in psychology since they help counselors understand how their clients think. However, career counselors must also know about the modern workforce and credential requirements for in-demand positions.

Career counselors typically earn about $47,000 a year on average.

Sports Psychologist

Sports psychologists are specialized professionals who deal with the psychological health of professional athletes. On the field or during a professional athletic event, athletes’ mental states and mindsets are frequently just as important as their physical performances.

Therefore, sports psychologists find important employment positions at sports teams, stadiums, or major sports leagues. They may also work at colleges, which employ sports psychologists to bolster the effectiveness of their college sports teams.

Sports psychologists help athletes perform by:

  • Understanding and examining the mental aspects that affect sports performance
  • Helping athletes overcome sports anxiety
  • Helping athletes train more efficiently or in a way that doesn’t result in injuries
  • Giving athletes the motivation they need to succeed

This position can be crucial at the highest level of sports performance. For example, Simone Biles recently had difficulty performing at the last Olympic Games. A sports psychologist could assist with these incidents and help athletes get back on the field. They are also helpful after major or traumatic events in athletes’ personal lives.

According to Salary.com, sports psychologist make a median annual salary of $75,510.

School Psychologist

School psychologists are specialized psychologists who work exclusively at public or private schools. They also solely help children, so their undergraduate degrees often focus on child health care or mental health development.

In a nutshell, school psychologists help students overcome childhood or teenage difficulties. They help children by:

  • Diagnosing and treating problems that relate to learning or school behavior
  • Assisting children to overcome disruptive attitudes or behaviors
  • Helping kids integrate with groups
  • Providing emotional support for students who have problems at home
  • Helping children overcome social, emotional, or behavioral issues

All school psychologists work for private or public schools. Those who work for private schools sometimes earn more, but not always. Many school psychologists also benefit from excellent career stability. Practically every public school has at least one school psychologist to assist students.

However, school psychologists must be very careful about treating students. School psychologists are generally not licensed to give out medication. Instead, they may recommend medication prescriptions or may refer students to other mental health professionals. School psychologists have significant responsibilities. They often make meaningful and positive contributions to the lives of students.

Most school psychologists earn about $80,000 a year.

Survey Researcher

Survey researchers work in a variety of fields, including psychology. In the psychology field, survey researchers:

  • Design and conduct surveys. These surveys relate to a variety of mental health or psychological topics, like community health or consumer behavior
  • Analyze data collected from surveys
  • Present the data in digestible, understandable formats to company executives or superiors

In other words, survey researchers carry out surveys and use their psychological backgrounds to derive meaningful conclusions from that data. Survey researchers can find employment across industries, including colleges, businesses, IT, etc.

Survey researchers often work directly in the academic psychological field because surveys are critical tools for all psychological research. No matter where they work, survey researchers perform essential tasks and may improve the efforts of others in their industries.

Because their work is varied, survey researchers’ salaries can also vary heavily.

Most survey researchers earn about $59,000 a year on average.

Forensic Psychologist

Forensic psychologists work in law enforcement. While working within the criminal justice system, forensic psychologists:

  • Help gather evidence
  • Analyze this evidence to draw conclusions
  • Offer expert testimony during court cases
  • Assist law enforcement when developing criminal profiles
  • Train detectives to understand the psychological elements inherent in many criminal investigations

Forensic psychologists must usually have a master’s degree in psychology focusing on forensic psychology. A generalized master’s degree won’t be enough for employment in most cases.

These positions are nonetheless very rewarding. Forensic psychologists have a positive impact on their communities. They help law enforcement do better, more efficient jobs tracking criminals. On top of that, forensic psychologists get to see psychological behaviors rarely found in other industries.

Individuals with master’s degrees in psychology who wish to work in criminal justice should consider this career.

Forensic psychologists generally earn around $72,000 per year.

Diversity/Inclusion Manager

Diversity and inclusion managers are more common than ever. Corporate organizations want to improve their brand images and reduce discrimination in their workforces and advertising. Therefore, they often hire professionals to ensure that their materials and hiring practices are diverse and inclusive.

Diversity and inclusion managers do a lot of things, including but not limited to:

  • Develops, implements, and oversees various diversity strategies
  • Promotes inclusion and diversity in the workforce
  • Ensures that company advertising materials and products are not discriminatory
  • Helps a company make its brand seem more inclusive and diverse
  • Assists with hiring new individuals to ensure diversity benchmarks

Diversity and inclusion managers are similar to human resources managers in many ways. However, they emphasize the diversity and inclusion aspects of human resources more than other aspects.

These days, many diversity and inclusion managers earn around $128,000 per year.

Engineering Psychologist

Engineering psychologists work exclusively in the engineering and industrial fields. They have lots of responsibilities and often perform work like:

  • Improving equipment for productivity and efficiency by looking at how people use the equipment. They use their psychological understanding to help companies develop new tools and more effective systems.
  • Improving the design of systems and operations for better efficiency. Again, engineering psychologists look at the human side of an industrial system. Then they come up with improvements a company can incorporate to maximize that system’s ease of use or effectiveness.

In other words, engineering psychologists help the engineering field be more human-friendly. Those who work in the engineering industry are often not focused on emotions or ease of use. They also don’t necessarily create intuitive systems or controls for their tools.

Engineering psychologists solve these issues and help companies or systems be more human-friendly. In some cases, engineering psychologists may also help engineering firms:

  • Market their services or products more effectively
  • Draw talented candidates to their open positions
  • And more

Engineering psychologists often earn high salaries because of their specialized knowledge and intense efforts.

On average, engineering psychologists earn around $99,000 a year.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Industrial-organizational psychologists, as applied psychologists, use their detailed academic training in psychology to solve workplace issues. These include but are not limited to:

  • Reduce redundancy in employment positions
  • Build worker morale
  • Improve workplace safety by considering how people look at safety systems or tools
  • Enhance productivity and confidence across the board

Industrial-organizational psychologists may perform lots of tasks or have multiple job titles. They affect many things in their company, such as the design of production plants, office layout, and much more. They design spaces for optimal productivity and safety.

Industrial-organizational psychologists carefully examine how spaces and tools are used. They view these tasks with a human-focused mindset to gear them to be user-friendly. Then they provide their conclusions and recommendations to corporate executives.

The median annual salary for an industrial-organizational psychologist is approximately $128,300.

Find Your Online Master’s in Psychology!

Ultimately, individuals who have a master’s degree in psychology won’t have much trouble finding employment in one industry or another. An abundance of quality jobs exists across several sectors. You have to consider what salary you want and your focus, then apply to different open positions.

Of course, you can also check out credentials and doctoral programs at GetEducated.com. GetEducated has a detailed database and catalog of online master’s and postgraduate programs. These programs could be great for buffing up your resume or acquiring a second degree to make yourself more attractive to employers. Check out our list of master’s in psychology online degrees today!

Browse Now

Search Over 1,600+ Schools with 30,000+ Degrees